A discussion on Indonesian food could last forever, seeing as each region in the country – spread across 17,000 islands – has its own variety of ingredients and cooking methods to produce its many unique native dishes; from dry and soupy treats to those that are steamed and grilled. In a nutshell, one may say Indonesia is a culinary utopia for foodies.
However, there has been a recent shift in culture pertaining to the local gastronomical world, due in part to the strong impact of outside influence that has grown immensely during the last few years. The increase in popularity of Western dishes in many a restaurant’s menus has also placed an emphasis on local food to improve in order to still be regarded as the king of the castle.
This has driven eateries that specialise in Indonesian fare to innovate and refine themselves continuously. It’s a common sight now to see cuisines ranging from Padang, Sunda and Sulawesi to Balinese given a brand-new glossy makeover that makes them more attractive and presentable.
Restoran Bengawan Solo, Hotel Grand Sahid
Jakarta’s Hotel Grand Sahid understands full well what a meal entails. Located in the heart of the capital city’s business district, the hotel’s Bengawan Solo is a restaurant that has been serving authentic Indonesian cuisine since 1991. No wonder, then, that the wayang-decorated eatery has been known to be the culinary go-to place for expatriates and visitors. Despite its name, Bengawan Solo’s menu not only features dishes from the Central Javanese city as it includes around 40 dishes that come from Sabang to Merauke to satisfy its customers. They include the likes of Gado-Gado (mixed vegetables), Nasi Goreng Bengawan Solo (Bengawan Solo fried rice), Soto Betawi (Betawi beef soup), and Martabak Padang (Padang pancake) – all presented in an inviting and impressive manner.
Hotel Grand Sahid Jaya, Lobby Level,
Jl. Jend. Sudirman, Kav. 86,
T: 021 570 4444 ext 1438
Open daily from 11am-11pm
Restoran Sriwijaya, The Dharmawangsa
Armed with an exemplary reputation for providing a progressive take on local dishes, Restoran Sriwijaya at The Dharmawangsa takes a more luxurious fine-dining approach compared to the rather casual Bengawan Solo. It even serves Palembang, Manado and Betawi dinner set menus that are paired with different types of wine. Its à la carte entries include short ribs Rawon (beef black soup) that is made sous vide and squid ink pasta with Bunaken-style lobster – further showcasing its implementation of dynamic innovation in its menu.
Jl. Brawijaya Raya No. 26,
T: 021 725 8181
Open daily from 6.30am-11pm
An exclusive restaurant that could only hold 28 patrons, Namaaz Dining is a purveyor of Indonesian cuisine that puts into practice ultra-modern molecular gastronomic techniques to prepare its food. There are 17 menu entries available for dinner here, and each and every one of them are dished out in a very unique style. Don’t be surprised if you’re handed a piece of paper and pencil on a plate in front of you – it could be the Opor Ayam (chicken stew in coconut milk gravy) that you ordered. Founder Andrian Ishak himself has described his masterpiece of an eatery as “fun dining”.
Jl. Gunawarman No. 42,
T: 021 3306 1000
Open Tuesday to Saturday from 6.30pm-12am